This has been long overdue but I finally got around to implementing energy shields. The main purpose of energy shields is to provide the player with kind of a health buffer, particularly against ranged opponents, so they can get into the fight and survive long enough to establish the control over the battlefield.
So the way the shields work is they block a certain amount of damage from each direct attack based on impact speed (very slow to very fast) rather than on damage type (mechanical, heat, etc). The amount of damage a shield can absorb in total is equal to its max energy times conversion rate. Shields also dissipate over time, so you won't want to keep them running unless they are needed to block damage. They cannot be recharged in combat.
The amount of damage blocked for each impact speed depends on the modulators used to craft/generate the shield emitter, but overall shield emitters are much more effective against higher impact speeds, so melee characters and, to a lesser extent crossbow users, will have an edge when fighting shielded enemies. Additionally, most types of melee weapons will ignore certain amount of shield (and some special attacks ignore it completely) so we can balance out their usefulness against the hard hitting sledgehammers - knives ignore 60% of energy shielding, fist weapons 80% and unarmed attacks 100%.
Concerning what attack has which impact speed - it's displayed for the weapons, but most other stuff (psi, grenades, etc) don't list it. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this, because I don't want to clutter the descriptions so maybe a better solution would be to list it somewhere else or have an NPC educate the player about it. We'll see, I haven't made up my mind yet. But until the, here's how it works basically:
- Very low impact speed - Melee attacks
- Low impact speed - "slow" projectile attacks, that is projectiles considerably slower than bullets, such as crossbow bolts and cryokinesis
- Medium impact speed - bullets, shrapnel (from frag grenades)
- Fast impact speed - super fast projectiles, such as those fired from sniper rifles
- Very fast impact speed - lasers, plasma, electrical attacks
We still haven't done much balance testing regarding how effective shields are right now. I did some number crunching, but until we put it to test in a real playthrough and also have you the players have a go at it, it's hard to balance it out properly.
Also, characters skilled in electronics will be able to craft shield emitters and, with enough skill, they will be able to attach secondary modulators (which run at 50% efficiency) giving them a bit of an edge against character who have to purchase or find their own since those very rarely have the said secondary modulator.
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In other news, here's the other stuff I've been working on:
- Increased the block chance of riot gear shields to 30% (up from 20%)
- Firearm ammo weight now varies depending on caliber
- Indirect damage no longer removes incapacitation (e.g. poison)
- Electroshock primary target damage, pneumatic hit damage and force emission hit damage no longer remove incapacitation in order to better synergies with Cheap Shot feat
- Minimal hit chance for melee and ranged attacks is now 10% (down from 20%)
- Increased the amount of item categories most merchants will buy per reset, included the missing categories and also changed certain categories to always be included for specialized merchants (not in the unlimited amount though)
- Added more psi boosters to early areas to ease up the early game for psi characters who need those rather than bullets
- Telekinetic Punch, tazing and pneumatic strike are now resisted through fortitude, instead of resolve
- Melee skill now scales up with either Strength or Dexterity, whichever is higher
- Boot springs now reduce stealth (will add stealth speedy boots later)
- Aluminized cloth heat resistance increased and crafting requirements changed to 1 per quality (down from 1.5)
- Doppelgangers should now properly ignore target's resistances with their attacks
- Fixed a very serious bug that caused ranged attacks to mostly ignore evasion rating of the target. Evasion should have much the same effect in avoiding ranged attack as dodge has for melee attacks. This will definitively affect the game's balance, both by increasing the difficulty of high evasion enemies and by buffing agility based player characters, so I'll be keeping an eye on it.
- Advanced Health Hypo added
- Balaclava added (+10% cold resist, +5 intimidate, +stealth when crafted out of black cloth or +hear resist when crafted out of aluminized cloth)
Also, I re-balanced bunch of feats, mostly buffing those who were in need of a buff and maybe nerfing one or two overpowered ones. I tried to hit all the feats that needed love, but there are still a couple I'm not sure how to fix or just don't have the mechanics in place to do so yet. Anyway, here's the list of changes:
- Dirty Kick - now works regardless of the current weapon, the damage is equal to 200% of unarmed damage
- Premeditation - now also reduces AP cost of the next psi ability buy 100%
- Psychosis - psi cost increment changed to 20% (up from 10%)
- Tranquility - reworked: now reduces AP cost of all psi abilities by 10 while the invoker is at full health
- Cerebral Trauma - reworked: now increases Neural Overload damage by 25% (up from 20%) and burns 15% of the target's max psi points when Neural Overload lands
- Force User - now increases Telekinetic Punch damage by 100% (up from 20%) and Force Field duration by 2 turns (up from 1)
- Lightning Punches - now works with fist weapons as well
- Pyromaniac - doubled the chance it will trigger across the board and the exact chance is now shown for each individual psi ability; also the bonus damage has been increased to 100% (up from 80%)
- Crippling Strike - damage increased to 150% (up from 125%) and it no longer costs additional action points, but has 1 turn cooldown
- Grenadier - now reduces standard grenade cooldown by 2 turns (up from 1) and special grenade cooldown by 3 turns (up from 2)
- Hypothermia - now reduces constitution by 1 (down from 2) and stacks up to 5 times (up from 3)
- Thermodinamicity - instead of psi cost, now reduces action point cost by 50%
- Evasive Maneuvers - now grants evasion equal to three times your movement points (up from x2)
- Uncanny Dodge - now allows you to dodge next three melee attacks instead of just one, but cooldown is increased to 3 turns (up from 2)
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As far the content is concerned, we're working on new areas, quests and creatures. One of the goals is to add more side quests to SGS (and surrounding areas) and Rail Crossing which we feel are most in need of those. We'll also be adding a major new station with the next update, but more on that in some future dev log (won't be Core City just yet, though).